KULR: Senator Tester Tours Oil Spill Area

Five days after a crude oil pipeline rupture damaged pristine riverbanks along the Yellowstone River, Senator Jon Tester arrived in Laurel to see the damage.

In early July, more than 300 workers laid 8,000 feet of absorbent booms, as well as 15,000 absorbent pads to collect the escaped crude oil, which has traveled up to 80 miles downstream, according to estimates by local officials.

The tour began with a briefing at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Downtown Billings, attended by state, Yellowstone County, and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officials. In addition, representatives from ExxonMobil were also present. At the briefing, a piece of good news was finally delivered.

“The water quality between the spill site and Miles City contains nothing above drinking water standards. So this is river water, not above drinking water standards,” said Steve Merritt, the On-Site Coordinator for EPA.

After a short tour along Thiel Road in Laurel, Sen. Tester said a complete cleanup of the area requires a concerted effort.

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